Your October 2020 SCBWI Houston Newsletter
Upcoming Meeting: Monday, November, 2 2020 7-9 PM
NOTE: There will be no meeting in October. Next Meeting: November 2 7-9 PM
Please join us on the first Monday of every month from 7-9 p.m. at the Tracy Gee Community Center, 3599 Westcenter, Houston, or on Zoom if instructed to do so.
This month:

Going the Distance
Next meeting: November 2How to Write the Best Dialogue
Lane Riosley -

Since our Annual Conference is being held first week of October, there will be no meeting that month.

The August Zoom meeting with Alda Dobb has been recorded. If you missed it or just want to refresh your notes, feel free to access it online here.

In an effort to prioritize our public health and safe community building during the Covid-19 pandemic, we have canceled all 2020 Dinner Table quarterly events and look forward to bringing this program back in 2021. Stay safe and keep creating with open hearts and minds!

Varsha Bajaj is an Author Simply... on... Fire

First, Varsha will have a story in the anthology above, Come On In, 15 stories about immigration and finding home, releasing October 13. Second. The Houston Library Foundation has chosen Varsha for the Excellence in Children's Literature Award for 2020. Better, better....

And third, but certainly and most definitely not last, yesterday's PW Children's Bookshelf email blast featured an announcement about Varsha's newest project: Says, PW, "Nancy Paulsen at Penguin/Paulsen has bought, in an exclusive submission, Thirst, a middle grade novel by Varsha Bajaj (Count Me In).
A 12-year-old girl in the slums of Mumbai must make a difficult choice that could endanger her family when she stumbles on a secret plan by corrupt officials to divert her neighborhood's already meager water supply. Publication is anticipated for fall 2022; Caryn Wiseman at Andrea Brown Literary did the deal for world rights."

We are all proud of you, Varsha! Who said 2020 is nothing but bad news? Looks pretty good from this perspective...
Tonya Duncan Ellis Announces Newest Entry into
her Sophie Washington Series
The 11th book in the series, Sophie Washington: Class Retreat, will release on October 15. Sophie Washington and classmates head to camp for s'mores, hiking... and some unexpected visitors that teach lessons about standing up to monsters real and imagined. Learn more or purchase here.
Lynne Kelly Shares this Video Interview
for Song for a Whale

The interview was conducted with a public library in Bakersfield, CA for their county-wide reading program, The One Book Project. Song for a Whale is this year's middle grade selection.

Deena Schoenfeldt's Book Blogger Directory ebook Free on Kindle for a limited time.
Deena, daughter of our own Rita Mills,
has released her new 2020 edition of Book Blogger Directory. It lists blog addresses, contact information, where reviews are posted, as well as standard turnaround time and book formats accepted. Indexes list bloggers by accepted genre so you can easily find bloggers amenable to your subject matter.

More than 200 blogs are included, all current as of June 2020. The index lists each genre linked to each blog that accepts books in that category.

Imagine Sharing Your Name with a Devastating HURRICANE
Seeing and hearing your name over and over in a scary, negative light, plastered on newspapers and across TV screens. . . . The constant commentary is enough to make a kid wonder if he is bad, too.
This is the story of a boy on a mission to find out if his mischievous ways may be to blame for sharing his name with a hurricane. He travels far and wide to find answers and meets some familiar faces along the way. What will he learn? Can he change his name? Does he really want to? With fun rhymes (who knew so many words rhymed with hurricane) and a touching message, this book reminds us that good things can come out of a bad situation like a hurricane—even when your name is the same.
My Name Is a Hurricane? includes information on why hurricanes are named, who names them, and more. Author Julie Beasley tells us this book was inspired by author visits from her first book "H is for Harvey" where kids were in awe of the fact hurricanes have "real people" names.
Making Waves: A Pacific Illustrator Event
Join Alaska and Hawaii SCBWI for two days of craft-oriented presentations, hands-on intensives, optional critiques, and a juried art show!
– Illustration and literary agent Janna Morishima
– Illustrator Joe Sutphin
– Design Director at Chronicle Books Jennifer Tolo Pierce
– Illustrator Larry Day
– Illustrator Mirka Hokkanen
– Illustrator Lucas Elliott

October 1st the Indiana SCBWI will open registration for their one-day graphic novel conference, "Turning Writer and Illustrator Ideas Into Graphic Novels," which will be held online on January 16th.
The nonfiction workshop presented by the SCBWI and the Smithsonian Institution will be online November 6-7, with recordings of the presentations available for viewing through the 22nd. See the presentation schedule and register here.
Submissions are now open for the 2020 Narrative Art Award, closing on October 20, 2020.

The 2020 Narrative Art Award Assignment
Submit a narrative sequence based on the theme, “Silver Lining.” For anyone unfamiliar with the expression, Merriam-Webster defines it as “a consoling or hopeful prospect.” It stems from the phrase “every cloud has a silver lining.

  • The submission will consist of three sequential images, without text.
  • Your art style and visual story must be appropriate for one of these two specific audiences/book genres (Choose one):
  • Full color, intended for a picture book for 4 to 7-year-olds -- OR -- 
  • Black and white, intended for a Middle Grade book for 8 to 11-year-olds
The judges will look for images that tell a visual story or incident with clarity and nuance. The images should reflect a range and progression of mood and emotion. The narrative qualities of the submission will be considered, as will the effectiveness of the design and composition of the image.

You must be a current SCBWI member to submit to this award. Submissions are open from September 20 – October 20, 2020.

How To Sell Books in 2020 – Pandemic Edition

The Ultimate Guide to Promoting a Book Launch [Free Download]

Vermont College of Fine Arts Makes Special Offer
to SCBWI Members

SCBWI welcomes VCFA as exclusive education sponsor to its Summer Spectacular event. SCBWI active members may apply to the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults ( program for the Winter 2021 residency from January 10-19, 2021. VCFA will waive the $75 application fee for any SCBWI active member applying for the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults program between now and October 15, 2020.

Once you have registered in Slideroom, email before submitting your application with your membership details (Associate, Full, or PAL; membership expiration date), and she will waive your fee. This must be done prior to the final submission of admissions materials.
New Virtual Magazine Call for Entries
 Voyage is a new, online journal that is open to publishing any genre of YA. They are especially interested in quality work by writers from a variety of backgrounds, especially #ownvoices and are excited about creating a space that supports both emerging and established voices. Voyage features short-form YA fiction and nonfiction weekly and are typically looking for unpublished work, though they do consider reprints. All submissions should be 6,000 words or less.
Tomie dePaola Masterclass
Released for FREE
All of us in SCBWI and the children's book community lost a dear friend and artist in
Tomie dePaola. Anyone who has been lucky enough to dine or converse with him, or simply to be near his great big gregarious spirit, knows that he was the genuine article: a singular personality, and a master artist.

As we mourn his loss, we also want to celebrate his incredible body of work
and his long and dear friendship with our organization.

We are making available to members his entire Master Class DVD that he shot with Lin Oliver, where the two of them go in depth and discuss the modern picture book, a form he helped to invent and elevate. With outsized generosity, Tomie breaks down the history of the picture book, his approach, his working methods---everything you'd want to know about how he crafts a work of art for children. Tomie was incredibly proud of this Master Class. So please enjoy it, and pull a book or three of his off the shelf.

SCBWI YouTube Featuring The Vault Let's You Relive Wondrous Moments with Best-Selling Icons of Childrens Publishing -- Or Experience Them For The First Time
We are so proud to introduce you to the all-new SCBWI YouTube featuring the Vault which launches today with a treasure trove of exclusive never-before-seen videos that put you smack in the middle of the greatest children’s book creators of our time. Culling the best moments from SCBWI conferences---from the early days in the 1970s all the way up to this year, the Vault holds the advice, teachings, and musings of the biggest and brightest names in children’s publishing over the past 50 years. Even if you never got the chance to be there originally, you can now have a front row seat to all the SCBWI conferences---the profound, the moving, the funny, the goofy, the heart-stopping moments that are at the center of this brilliant creative community.
It's easy to step into our new YouTube channel and watch featured video clips from award-winning creators including:

Kwame Alexander Laurie Halse Anderson Judy Blume
Bruce Coville  Karen Cushman Paula Danziger                                      
Sid Fleischman Gordon Korman Meg Medina
Vanessa Brantley Newton Linda Sue Park
Jerry Pinkney David Small Jerry Spinelli
Shaun Tan Richard Jesse Watson

Before Newbery medals, before National Book Awards, before the adulation, there were young writers and illustrators on the path to legend status. The awards and praises of the book industry and book lovers worldwide were heaped on the giants of the industry seen here. All of them shared the stage at our conferences over the years. You’ll be inspired, captivated, and enamored.
And that’s just the beginning! Each week we will be bringing you stunning archival footage to watch and share with your friends, family, and colleagues. SCBWI is giving its members and book lovers everywhere an opportunity not found anywhere else, to witness the history of contemporary children’s books in the making.
SCBWI members will see exclusive clips pulled from the vault just for them in Insight, the monthly e-newsletter, and in Pro Insider the e-newsletter for published members. You can follow all the fun on our social media – Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook – with sneak previews and only-on-this-platform content. Subscribe to our YouTube channel here so you don’t miss out.  And check in regularly, to keep the inspiration flowing. 
For anyone interested in children’s books, for anyone who values creativity, for anyone wanting a direct hit of inspiration and joy, SCBWIYouTube featuring the Vault is the place to be. See you there, friends.
#SCBWIYouTube | #SCBWIvault   
Renew your membership at

Suggestion Box
Have an idea on how to improve Houston SCBWI?
Leave a suggestion in our new Suggestion Box!
SCBWI Emergency Fund
Information and Procedures

The SCBWI Emergency Fund has been established to provide assistance to SCBWI members of at least
six months’ standing in times of emergency or hardship. The emergency or hardship could involve,
for example, matters of health, family issues, or natural disasters that are in any way restricting
or preventing an SCBWI member’s ability to work as an author or illustrator.

The fund is also running low due to the high number of applications.
If you wish to donate to the fund, you may do so on the website or by mail:
 Please send a check to:
 SCBWI Emergency Fund
6363 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 425
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Your contribution will be announced in the following SCBWI Bulletin. Dollar amounts will not be listed. If you wish to remain anonymous please indicate so in your letter.
There is a $1,500 cap on any given grant, and no member may receive the grant more than twice.
SCBWI does not expect to be reimbursed for grants made from the Emergency Fund.
Applications for assistance can come from the individual member seeking the aid or from someone noting their member friend or associate is in need of assistance. Applications are confidential and not shared outside the organization.
Members should fill out the application, which can be found here. The applicant will receive an electronic confirmation and all communications will be by email unless the applicant indicates no access to a computer.
To learn more about the Emergency Fund, please click here to read the FAQ.
Don't Get SCAMMED!

Are you aware of Writer Beware? It's a good site to check on complaints about publishers. This 2019 roundup covers the year in review. If you're not familiar with how "vanity publishers" scam authors, be sure to study the links under SAVE YOUR CASH and ADVICE YOU CAN USE. It also touches on how awards can take advantage of authors.

Use the SEARCH THIS BLOG function to look up specific publisher and agent names.
FREE On-demand webinars from SCBWI MD/DE/WV!
Creating Your Portfolio with Rebecca Evans
• Formatting Your Manuscript for Submission with Kathy MacMillan
• A Conversation with Picture Book Authors 1 (Read Local Challenge webinar featuring
J.H. Diehl, Amy S. Hansen, and Rebecca Evans)
• A Conversation with Picture Book Authors 2 (Read Local Challenge webinar featuring
Ann McCallum, Karen Leggett Abouraya, and Lezlie Evans)
 • Conversation with Picture Book Authors 3 (Read Local Challenge webinar featuring Veronica Bartles, Sue Fliess, and Megan Wagner Lloyd)
• A Conversation with Middle Grade Authors 1 (Read Local Challenge webinar featuring
Laura Shovan, Leah Henderson, and Barbara Carney-Coston)
• A Conversation with Middle Grade Authors 2 (Read Local Challenge webinar featuring
R.D Henham and Deborah Kalb)
• A Conversation with Young Adult Authors (Read Local Challenge webinar featuring
Kathy MacMillan, Linda Budzinski, Meg Eden, Pintip Dunn, and Christina June)

We are pleased to offer these free webinar recordings, available anytime
SCBWI Podcast Goes Public
In a bold expansion to new platforms, SCBWI has made the first season of its popular podcast, SCBWI Conversations, available to the public. Our library of in-depth, insightful episodes feature the best of editors, agents, authors, and illustrators in the children’s book industry. As of today, we have over nine thousand listeners on six continents who have joined us since our public launch in May. The most current season will remain exclusive content for SCBWI members only. It is available for streaming from our website here
An Ongoing and Updated List of Webinars
The Nevada SCBWI chapter has a new feature listing and updating webinars of interest to our members. Be sure to bookmark this page to stay abreast of new opportunities...

Austin's Cynthia Leitich Smith Is Compiling
an ever growing list of Texas children's-YA
authors and Illustrators.
Howdy! Texas is bursting with talented children’s-YA book creators.
Once again, my Cynterns and I are updating the ever-growing list of 
Texas children’s-YA authors and illustrators at:
It’s a popular resource for event planners, gatekeepers and Texas book lovers.
Please share widely and/or reply to with new 
listings or updates to existing listings.
Those who currently live in Texas or have previously lived in Texas are 
eligible for inclusion.
Please reply with byline, official website URL, preferred titles to 
highlight, and current city and/or state of residence.

Chapter Events

Monthly Meetings
When: Meetings are held on the first Monday night of each month (first Tuesday if first Monday is a holiday), 7-9 pm. Fiction, Nonfiction and Illustration critique groups meet from 6-7pm.
What: All regular monthly meetings are open to all at no cost or obligation. To suggest speakers or topics and/or to be added to our monthly meeting reminder e-mail list, contact Program Coordinator via our Contact Us page.
Where: The meetings are held at the Tracy Gee community center, located at 3599 Westcenter Dr, Houston, TX 77042. Please note: Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, meetings will be held online through Zoom until further notice.

2020 schedule of meetings

Nov. 2How to Write the Best Dialogue
Lane Riosley –

Dec. 7Holiday Celebration: Potluck, Literary Bingo & Book Sales

Our Staff

Regional Advisor:
Asst. Regional Advisor:
Lynne Kelly
Illustrators Coordinator:
Monthly Program Chair:
Sarah Choi

Listserv Coordinator:
Twitter Coordinator:
Newsletter & Website
Art Credit
Header Design:
Join our conversations on the SCBWI Texas discussion boardPlease send your author/illustrator news for the next newsletter to Bruce Foster by the 25th of the month at

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